Department of Anthropology
Evolution and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Friday, November 14, 2008
Lecture Hall 8, 4:00 PM
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) has been recognized for centuries and affects non-negligible proportions of women all over the world. It has eluded easy definition, and there are many sets of diagnostic criteria for PMS; thus, women who share no symptoms in common can be diagnosed with the same syndrome. Genetic, biochemical, hormonal, and psychosocial etiologies of PMS have been sought to no avail, and no treatment derived from such proximate research programs has been found any more effective than placebo. An evolutionary approach to PMS suggests that patterns of physical and psychosocial change across the menstrual cycle might be adaptive. Female bodies may be monitoring evolutionarily relevant parameters of their own bodies and environments, and adjusting their physical and psychosocial state of being accordingly. This presentation will review the current state of knowledge about PMS, explain the evolutionary model developed, and present empirical data that bear on the evaluation of the evolutionary model.
Chris Reiber, PhD, MPH, is a biological anthropologist whose expertise revolves around evolutionary and epidemiological modeling of women’s health issues, cardiovascular health, and substance abuse. She has experience as an analyst in the pharmaceutical industry (pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism), and has done extensive teaching at several schools within the University of Pittsburgh system, Maryville University, Carlow College, and Binghamton University. She has been utilized as an independent analytical consultant to federally-funded researchers in psychology and addiction medicine, and is the former Director of Analytical Services for the Clinical Trials Group of UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute’s Integrated Substance Abuse Programs (ISAP), for which she and her team handled statistical/analytical issues for all clinical trials, including complex single- and multi-site clinical trials containing biomedical, behavioral, demographic, economic, cost-benefit, safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetic data. Her research has included topics within women’s health (Premenstrual Syndrome, menopause), cardiovascular health (perimenopausal changes in cardiovascular health in women, intra-abdominal adipose tissue as a cardiovascular risk factor), substance abuse and treatment (clinical trials of new pharmacological products for addiction, psychosocial research, women and substance abuse), sexual health and behavior (hook-ups), and evolutionary and epidemiological sciences.